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The Impact of Debt on Your Relationship

Have you hidden debts from your partner? Or have they hidden debts from you?


The NY Times recently published a story about a young couple in which one partner thought she had around $100,000 in student loan debt and told her fiancé about it before they got too serious. Unfortunately, she was too scared to check the paperwork and just kept paying off the minimum. When she finally did crunch the numbers, it turned out to be $170,000, and her partner walked out on their engagement within three days of finding out.

I guess we all walk into a relationship with some debts, but when are we supposed to reveal the total figure?

On the first date, the third, when we reach 2nd base?

There’s no easy answer but leaving it till the engagement probably is too late.

That’s the thing about debt though. It’s normally such a private topic, you can sometimes feel like it’s no one else’s business.

But since it’s going to affect things like how many kids you can have, whether one person can stay at home, the kind of holidays you can take as a couple… it’s worth talking about debt early so you both know what’s ahead.

It’s not a romantic talk, but it could help to save your relationship and even bring you closer together. According to Ruth Hayden, author of “For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples”, the best approach to dealing with one partner’s debt is to tackle it together.

You should work out what you really owe, how you’re going to pay it back and what sacrifices you’ll need to make as a couple.

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